weight gain during pregnancy

How Much Weight Gain is Normal During Pregnancy?

Along with the excitement of nurturing a growing life within, many expectant mothers have concerns about their weight during this period. Understanding what constitutes normal weight gain during pregnancy is crucial for both the well-being of the mother and the healthy development of the baby.

Pregnancy is a remarkable and memorable journey in every woman’s life. During pregnancy, it is very important to eat a healthy, balanced diet that will help your body get the right amount of nutrients for its development and growth.

It is a transformative period in a woman’s life that brings about numerous physical and emotional changes. One of the most noticeable changes is the weight gain. While it is natural and necessary for a healthy pregnancy, many expectant mothers wonder how much weight gain is considered normal.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the topic of weight gain in pregnancy, shedding light on the factors influencing it and providing you with valuable insights. We will explore the recommended guidelines, and address the importance of individual differences. Understanding these aspects can help expectant mothers make informed decisions and ensure a healthy pregnancy journey.

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What are the factors that affect weight gain during pregnancy?

The weight a woman should gain during pregnancy is influenced by several factors, including pre-pregnancy weight, overall health, and individual circumstances. Let’s explore some key factors that can affect weight gain in pregnancy:

  • Pre-pregnancy weight: Pre-pregnancy weight plays a significant role in determining the recommended weight gain in pregnancy. Women who have higher pre-pregnancy weight tend to gain less weight when they are pregnant compared to those who are underweight. The body mass index (BMI) of the expectant mother is often used as a reference point to determine the appropriate weight gain.
  • Multiple pregnancies: Women carrying twins or multiples may experience greater weight gain due to the additional demands placed on the body. The growth of multiple babies requires increased nutritional intake, leading to higher weight gain during pregnancy.
  • General health: The health of the expectant mother, including any pre-existing medical conditions, can impact the recommended weight gain during pregnancy. Medical professionals closely monitor weight gain to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby. Certain medical conditions may require closer monitoring or tailored weight-gain recommendations.
  • Nutritional needs: Adequate nutrition is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. A well-balanced diet that includes essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals supports foetal development and contributes to healthy weight gain. The expectant mother’s nutritional needs may vary depending on her circumstances, and dietary adjustments may be recommended to meet those needs.

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Recommended Pregnancy Weight Gain Chart

To guide expectant mothers regarding weight gain in pregnancy, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) provides guidelines based on pre-pregnancy BMI categories. These recommendations aim to promote a healthy pregnancy outcome and reduce the risk of complications. It is important to note that these guidelines are general ranges, and individual circumstances may warrant variations.

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Pregnancy weight gain chart: The following are the approximate weight ranges recommended by the IOM:

  • Underweight (BMI less than 18.5): For underweight women, the recommended weight gain ranges between 12.5 and 18 kilogrammes (28 and 40 pounds). This range is intended to support healthy fetal development and help the mother maintain adequate energy levels.
  • Normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9): Women with a normal pre-pregnancy BMI are advised to gain around 11.5–16 kilogrammes (25–35 pounds) during pregnancy. This weight gain range ensures the proper growth and development of the baby without excessive strain on the mother’s body.
  • Overweight (BMI 25–29.9): Overweight women are recommended to gain between 7–11.5 kilogrammes (15–25 pounds) during pregnancy.
  • Obese (BMI greater than or equal to 30): For obese women, the recommended weight gain during pregnancy ranges between 5 and 9 kilogrammes (11 and 20 pounds). This range focuses on ensuring the baby’s proper growth while considering the potential health risks associated with obesity.

How do I gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy?

Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy is crucial for both mother and baby. Following are some tips that can help you maintain an appropriate weight during your pregnancy.

weight gain during pregnancy
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  • Consult a healthcare provider: Expectant mothers should consult with their healthcare providers for personalised recommendations based on their specific circumstances. Factors such as maternal age, ethnicity, and overall health can also influence weight gain during pregnancy.
  • Monitoring Weight Gain: Regular monitoring of weight gain during pregnancy is crucial for assessing the overall health of both the mother and the baby. Healthcare providers typically track weight gain at prenatal check-ups to ensure it aligns with the recommended guidelines. Sudden, excessive, or inadequate weight gain may indicate potential issues and require further evaluation.
  • Stay hydrated: Try to drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain the level of liquid in your body. Adequate hydration supports healthy bodily functions and can help prevent overeating by reducing feelings of hunger.
  • Eat regular and frequent meals: Opt for small, frequent meals throughout the day to maintain steady energy levels and prevent excessive hunger. This approach can help you make healthier food choices and avoid overeating.

Pregnancy is dynamic, and weight gain is not linear throughout the nine months. It is common for weight gain to be more rapid in the second and third trimesters. However, drastic or sudden weight changes should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


Gaining weight during pregnancy varies from one woman to another. The pregnancy weight gain chart provided above gives a general idea of ideal weight gain for moms-to-be. Expectant mothers need to get the right amount of nutrients and a balanced diet to have a healthy pregnancy. Several factors can affect your weight gain during pregnancy, such as multiple pregnancies and nutritional needs. Gaining too much or too little weight can lead to health problems for you and your unborn baby.

It’s important to note that while this guide provides general information, every pregnancy is unique. It is always advisable to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and to address any specific concerns or conditions you may have. 

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